alongside Bishop Barron and the Word on Fire community.
Would you like to receive these daily Gospel reflections in your inbox every morning?
Friends, today we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God.
We hear at Mass one of the most magnificent passages in the Scriptures, indeed one of the gems of the Western literary tradition: the prologue to the Gospel of John. In many ways, the essential meaning of Christmas is contained in these elegantly crafted lines.
But today I would like to focus on two lines in particular. The first is this: “The world came to be through him, but the world did not know him.” In that pithily crafted line, we sense the whole tragedy of sin. Human beings were made by and for the Logos and therefore they find their joy in a sort of sympathetic attunement to the Logos. Sin is the disharmony that comes when we fall out of alignment with God’s reasonable purpose.
Then comes the incomparably good news: “But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God.” It is a basic principle of nature that nothing at a lower level of being can rise to a higher level unless it is drawn upward. For example, a plant can become ingredient in a sentient nature only if it is devoured by an animal. By this same principle, a human being can become something higher only when a superior reality assimilates him. The Church Fathers consistently taught that God became human so that humans might become God—which is to say, participants in the divine nature. In a word, we can become children of God precisely because God reached down to us and became a son of man.